This blog is about crime discourse: true crime, crime fiction, narratives of crime in media and culture. I am curious about how crime discourses intersect with culture and identity: how and why do we shape narratives about crime? How and why do crime narratives shape us?
I chose a blog format for this project in order to work through this exploration of crime discourse in a “live” and public way. The posts in this blog represent observations as I have them, not workshopped and peer reviewed arguments. I want to get somewhere in “the end,” but I’m not sure where that is. Maybe I want to understand better the different ways that we engage with media and texts in the “true crime” genre vs. in “crime fiction.” Are there differences? Maybe I want to understand why “crime” is such a shareable narrative frame for communicating personal and social values. Maybe I want to understand why white women, in particular, are so drawn to stories about dead white women.
I also envision this project as a kind of academic-adjacent “fangirl” project in which I can talk about not only the true crime and crime fiction narratives that I’ve come across but also the cultural theorists, sociologists, journalists, and other professional types who think and write about crime discourses.
When I was mentioning the idea of this blog to an academic mentor/colleague, I pointed out that one thing this format allows me to do is to just be a fan of other writing and thinking without having to couch it all in academic criticism. This resonated for that colleague, and it helped me realize this is a space that might be fulfilling for more folks than just me.
(Psst, academia is often just really cutthroat and competitive, and sometimes you just want to be a fan, you know?)
My point is this: I am trained in research, critical thinking, and cultural analysis. I have published academic essays in respected, peer-reviewed venues in my sub-fields. And though I will bring some of my research, analysis, and communications skills to this blog, my goal isn’t to please particular academic editors or communities. Rather, the point of this blog is this:
I’m interested in learning more about how crime discourses — cultural representations of and engagements with ‘crime’ — are shaped by, and shape, identities, communities, and structures that we take for granted. I also want to explore how crime discourse fascinates cultural critics.
So, my first “ask” for anyone reading this and interested in this topic is this:
Who do you like learning about crime discourse from? Who are the journalists, cultural critics, or crime podcasters that you love? You know, the intermediaries who talk about the ways that others talk about crime? The folks who sift through crime narratives and re-narrate them for you in a way that satisfies both your interest in crime and your sense of critical analysis? Send me some tips via Twitter, or comment on this post.